By Al Barbarino
Once upon a time, long before she became a BOND real estate broker, a young girl named Jeanine LeNy flipped through the pages of her favorite book, The Little House, by Virginia Lee Burton, gripped by the “feelings” of a little house in the country.
In the book, The Little House wondered what it would be like to live beyond the countryside, where the bright lights of a big city twinkled.
Today, as a BOND broker and relocation specialist, LeNy is helping people realize similar desires, just as she would have liked to help The Little House many years ago as a little girl.
“It was just my favorite book,” LeNy said. “We had this tethered copy that I would just read over and over again.
“It’s my job as a real estate agent not only to find the perfect property for a customer or to sell a property quickly,” she went on, “but also as a problem solver. In today’s market a lot of problems come into play from offer to closing.”
In the case of The Little House, the problem came when the city came too close for comfort, as steam shovels rumbled by and she was soon surrounded by other houses, stores and tall skyscrapers.
In the case of one of LeNy’s recent customers, the city deemed the wall in a two-bedroom apartment to be illegal — legally making the apartment a one-bedroom — and the building’s ownership was bent on tearing the wall down.
“We got an architect and legalized the wall. If that hadn’t happened, they would have lost the financing and lost the apartment,” she said. “I think creatively and come up with different ways to solve problems like these.”
A native New Yorker with an Italian mother, a French father, and a Turkish husband, LeNy graduated from the University of Buffalo in the 1990’s. Her love of books led her to work for many years in the publishing industry, both as an editor and author, editing copy for the likes of R.L. Stine and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, and writing an array of her own books, from Kaplan score-raising SAT guides, to a Spiderman book, to the Once Upon A Prom series.
It wasn’t until she bought her favorite childhood book (The Little House) for her nine-month-old son (now two years old) that Le Ny realized her love for real estate began much earlier.
It was another book, Jack Finney’s illustrated novel Time and Again, a historical view of the city in 1882, that sparked Le Ny’s interest in Gramercy architecture (where her old publishing office was), inspiring her to pursue a career in real estate and leading her to BOND, which she called “a progressive company that’s always looking for new ways to support agents.”
“After reading that book, I really started taking note of all the homes, apartments and buildings around me,” she said. “As New Yorkers we never look up. That book made me look up.”
Then, in 2005 she bought a home in Staten Island without using a broker, later realizing that she may have overpaid a little bit. The experience led her to scour real estate listings for sport, drawing her deeper in, and giving her an appreciation for the role of the real estate broker.
Her experiences in the world of publishing would also come to serve her well in real estate. As a “packager,” Le Ny would come up with book series ideas, hiring authors and working with them throughout the process with printers and designers.
“I was a problem solver as an editor and that translates into trust. The author has to trust you (as an editor) or the author won’t listen to you and take your suggestions seriously,” she said.
“It’s the same thing with real estate. You need to work together and you need that trust, otherwise it just doesn’t work.”